Art Industry News: Oprah Winfrey Will Receive MoMA’s Cultural Entrepreneur Award + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Ai Weiwei protests Trump's travel ban and Tate Modern unveils new acquisitions.

Oprah Winfrey. Courtesy of Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Tuesday, December 19.


Ai Weiwei Makes a Prayer Rug to Protest Trump’s Travel Ban – An exhibition inside a former military base in San Francisco is presenting 36 hand-woven prayer rugs made by artists including Ai, Mona Hatoum, and Hank Willis Thomas. The show’s organizer, the For-Site Foundation, hopes to tour the exhibition “not just in the blue states,” but “in places where this will really spark conversation.” (The Guardian)

Carolina Miranda on the Year in Censorship – Looking back at a year of protests bolstered by social media, the LA Times writer asks whether the important and necessary debates about power, representation, gender, and race in American institutions may have taken on a dangerous broad-brush approach that could inadvertently limit artistic freedom. (Los Angeles Times)

Oprah Winfrey Will Receive MoMA’s Rockefeller Award – Presented annually to entrepreneurs who support culture and civic causes, the prize will be given to the daytime TV and pop-cultural dynamo at a museum event on March 6. Past honorees include luxury-goods magnate Bernard Arnault and billionaire Eli Broad. (Press release)

Holland Cotter on Mississippi’s New Civil Rights Museum – Returning to the Southern city of Jackson for the first time since 1964, Cotter describes the “combustive” energy of a museum that refuses to sugarcoat the history of racism in America, and its links to the present. “We don’t need our museums—any of them—to calm us down,” Cotter writes. “We need them to sound alarms.” (New York Times)


Is Nashville Ready for an Art Fair? – Local galleries are “lukewarm” about the inaugural Art Nashville, which has recently changed its location from the Omni Hotel to a 40,000-square-foot tent downtown. It appears that the fair’s founder, Matthew Eck, has work to do in wooing the city’s burgeoning art community ahead of the fair’s launch in October 2018. (Burnaway)

Michael Krebber’s Market Is Quietly on the Rise – Art advisor Allan Schwartzman, among others, thinks paintings by the German artist are “undervalued.” Although his works can currently be had for tens of thousands of dollars, one expert says: “In 10 years, you’ll see Krebber selling for a million dollars.” (Bloomberg)


London Underground Announces All-Female Program – Art on the Underground will have an all-female program in 2018 to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which granted all men and some women the right to vote. The program has commissioned work by Heather Phillipson, Linder, Geta Brătescu, Marie Jacotey, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. (Press release)

MOCAD Names Ford Curatorial Fellow – The recent Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate Jova Lynne has been selected for the new fellowship at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. She will begin the post, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, in January 2018. (Press release)

Baltimore Alternative Space to Close – The remaining two employees at the Baltimore Contemporary have announced that December 9 was their final day at the ambitious nomadic exhibition site. After a long search for an executive director bore little fruit, the board said that it “has decided to take some time to determine what the next steps will be for this ever-evolving institution.” (BmoreArt)


Hiroshi Sugimoto to Revamp the Hirshhorn’s Lobby – The Japanese artist has been commissioned to redesign the entry space, marking its first major transformation since the museum opened in 1974. The new lobby, due to debut in February, will have a locally owned coffee bar, a reconfigured entrance, Sugimoto-designed furnishings, and Olafur Eliasson’s prismatic light sculpture Your oceanic feeling (2015). (Press release)

Finalists for SF Public Art Commissions Announced – Three artists will ultimately be chosen to create works of public art as part of the redevelopment of San Francisco’s Treasure Island. Ai Weiwei, Andy Goldsworthy, Chakaia Booker, Antony Gormley, Jorge Pardo, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Pae White will each receive up to $5,000 to develop proposals. (SFGate)

Tate Unveils New Acquisitions – Tate Modern has added Emeka Ogboh’s work for documenta 14 in Athens, titled The Way Earthly Things Are Going, and Amar Kanwar’s 2007 installation The Lightning Testimonies to its collection. Both highly political installations are now on view in the museum’s basement-level space, the Tanks. (Press release)

Artist Turns Louis Vuitton Bags Into Star Wars Masks – Fandom meets luxury? Indianapolis-based artist Gabriel Dishaw is treating vintage LV handbags as raw material and recycling them into intricate masks fashioned after Star Wars characters. (Comic Book)

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